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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY              313

from the semi-colleges ; and, over all, the universities with their
several faculties. These four grades of scholastic institutions
he would have bound together after the fashion of the Jesuit
schools and colleges. Paris -university would be the centre of the
whole system : all the other universities, and ultimately all the
colleges and schools, would depend on it, and have their standards
determined by it. To ensure the umio^mity necessary to prevent
any district falling below the general level, he would establish a
central board—a " correlating committee" as he calls it; and
at the head of all there would be a supreme director of education
in Paris, who would be a member of the king's council and be
responsible to the minister of justice.

In spite of all the demands for a lay education under State
control, the reactionary party gradually reasserted itself from
1771 onwards, and it seemed for a time as though there was to
be a complete reversion to clerical domination. But with the
outbreak of revolution in 1789, the national ideal once more
emerged, more powerful than ever. There was no longer any
question about the State undertaking the education of the people :
everybody realized that no other course was possible. But as soon
as the matter passed out of the region of theoretical discussion
into that of legislation, unsuspected difficulties began to reveal
themselves. Plans, resolutions, laws, relating to education, all
equally ineffective, succeeded each other in a bewildering pro-
fusion, unexampled in the history of the world, Mirabeau, Talley-
rand, Condorcet, Lakanal, Lepelletier, Robespierre, Romme,
Bouquier (to name but a few), all tried to solve the problem, and
all failed, Many of the schemes put forward were excellent, but
in the general confusion that paralysed every attempt at legis-
lation, the best fared as badly as the worst. There was the added
complication that in the case of education the inevitable contro-
versies about the relative rights of State and individual were
exceptionally acute. Those who really believed in individual
liberty, while seeing the need for the training of the future citizen
both in his own interests and hi the interests of the State, disliked
the idea of compelling parents to submit their children to a
uniform discipline, and sought to provide opportunities for
education without any undue interference on the part of the
central authorities. Those, on the other hand, in whom the
Revolution had engendered the despotic spirit, insisted that the